The Astor Wines & Spirits Glossary

Rioja

The origin of Spanish winemaking, Rioja has been the benchmark for Spanish wines in the international market for over two hundred years, and remains so to this day. Tempranillo is the star of the red wines here, though its expression can vary wildly from producer to producer. Traditionally-styled Riojas tend to be subtle and soft, and often have high levels of acidity to ensure their survival through the lengthy ageing process. The more modern producers are making powerful, dark, fruit-driven, tannic wines - often with a pronounced use of new French oak. Frequently (and tragically) overlooked is the wide variety of white Riojas produced in the region as well. Viura is the main grape of the modern white wines made here, but traditionalists (such as López de Heredia) still use a good deal of old vine Malvasía as well. These traditionally-styled wines are intentionally oxidized, resulting in an array of fascinating and unique aromas reminiscent of Vin Jaune or fino sherry.
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